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Two Confess They Have a Big Task

--Two Franciscan priests, who have taken a vow of poverty, have to spend $2 million by mid-August or risk losing the money. “I hate to sound pious, but whatever happens is God’s will. Of course, we are running our feet off,” said Father John Felice. The New York priests say their situation reminds them of the latest film version of “Brewster’s Millions,” in which actor Richard Pryor has 30 days to spend $30 million or risk losing a larger fortune. The $2 million is pledged to the priests by real estate millionaire Harry Macklowe, trying to atone for destroying, without a permit, four hotels for the poor one cold January night, Felice and Father John McVean said. Macklowe suggested that the money go to St. Francis Friends of the Poor, a nonprofit organization run by Felice and McVean. The priests, in their early 40s, are looking for an apartment house in mid-Manhattan that they can buy for about $1 million and repair for another $1 million and then use to house mentally ill homeless men and women. If they can’t find a house in time, the money reverts to the city. The search for a building is difficult, but it’s not because the priests’ standards are high, they say. It’s just that $2 million doesn’t buy much in Manhattan these days.

--Billy Joe Thomas, an 8-year-old Cub Scout who gave away a hard-won trip to Disneyland to dying children, will be going to the Magic Kingdom after all, thanks to an anonymous businessman who was touched by the story. “Wow! This is hard to believe,” Billy Joe said when he learned of the businessman’s all-expense-paid offer for him and his parents at a meeting of his Cub Scout Pack 70 in Seattle. Billy Joe, a Cub Scout for about two months, sold enough $2 tickets for the Boy Scouts of America 75th Diamond Jubilee Seattle Scout Show to win passes to restaurants and a theater, two Swiss army knives, passes to a museum, free roller skating, a handyman’s workshop and a home computer. Billy Joe, who sold 800 tickets, finally won a Disneyland trip, including airfare, hotel and passes for four to the amusement park in California. “I wanted to give it to two handicapped kids, so their moms can take them to Disneyland before they die,” he said. By handicapped, he said, he meant someone with cancer. Ray Thomas said the idea of winning the trip to Disneyland and then giving it away was his son’s.

--Former President Jimmy Carter, his wife, Rosalynn, and daughter, Amy, arrived in Bangkok for a four-day visit to Thailand that will include a trip to a Cambodian refugee camp. The former President also is scheduled to meet with government officials and to address a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference.


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